It was a familiar feeling for Maryland fans at the end of the loss to Virginia Tech. The team had been close to pulling out a victory, leading for most of the 2nd half, and yet there was a sense that this squad would stumble in a hostile environment. When Maryland needed defensive stops late in the game they could not get them and gave up numerous offensive rebounds en route to a 50 point 2nd half for the Hokies. The myth that this is a very solid defensive team is slowly going by the wayside with the third game in the last five giving up over 1.07 points per possession. The only recent games where the opponent had an efficiency under 107 were Longwood and Wake Forest. The truth is in conference games the defense has been very mediocre ranked 6th in opponents offensive efficiency and 7th in field goal percentage and 10th in 3-point percentage. This should be a decent defensive team but that hasn't materialized so far this season. Freshmen Terrell Stoglin and Pe'Shon Howard have struggled defending from time to time and you would expect that given the adjustment to the college game and since neither player was known as a defensive stopper in high school. Sean Mosley, Adrian Bowie and Cliff Tucker have done a poor job given their level of experience. Jordan Williams struggles against bigs who can force him move off the low block and Dino Gregory can't guard bigger players in the post. Unfortunately for Maryland the Hokies have both players in Jeff Allen and Victor Davila respectively. Role players Erick Green and Terrell Bell combined to hit 7 3-point shots but going into the game were shooting 25% and 37% respectively from 3-point range for the season. Once again 3-point shooting helps undo the Maryland defense.
Stoglin had a great offensive game scoring a career high 25 points on 7/12 shooting, including 10/10 from the free throw line. He showed impressive aggressiveness going to the rim and getting out in transition. It was a star turn for the freshman [correction-I wrote he was a sophomore in original post] who is getting better and better as he adjusts to the speed of the college game. Once he matures his game watch out because he will be electric. Howard also did well playing 30 minutes and scoring 10 points without a turnover. It is the changing of the guard at Maryland as Stoglin and Howard will continue to take more minutes from flagging seniors Bowie and Tucker.
Jordan Williams had a good night on the stat sheet with a 16 point and 9 rebound performance. At the same time his defense was mediocre as has been the case most of this season, even though he got into foul trouble and had to sit out part of the first half. Williams struggled to get to the free throw line with only 2 attempts (the second lowest total in ACC games this year) and appeared frustrated at times. The last few weeks have shown that while the sophomore is putting together a phenomenal statistical season he has a great deal of room for improvement. Unless he wants to end up falling into the D-league he needs another season at Maryland before turning professional.
The Terps now get the hapless Wolfpack coming to town on the night Grievis Vasquez's jersey will be honored and a Florida State team that is without Chris Singleton. A two game winning streak would get them back in the conversation for a postseason run but the team cannot afford any more stumbles.